The Impact of the Scale: Looking Beyond the Numbers

Weight loss
Pieds sur une balance avec ruban à mesurer - Feet on scale with measuring tape

In our everyday lives, we place significant emphasis on our appearance, and the number on the scale is often seen as a reflection of our health. But is it really the best way to measure our well-being? For some, regularly checking their weight can serve as motivation, yet for others, it may become a source of stress and dissatisfaction, negatively impacting both their mental and physical health (1).

Weight Fluctuations Are Normal

Our weight varies slightly every day, which is entirely normal. These minor fluctuations can result from what we've eaten or drunk, salt intake causing water retention in our body, carbohydrates stored with water in our muscles and liver (2), and even hormonal changes, such as those during menstruation. Losing water through sweating or bathroom visits can also lead to a temporary decrease in weight.

There's More to See Than Just Weight

two women with different weight and color

When we step on a scale, it doesn't tell us whether the weight is from fat, muscle, or bone. Two people may weigh the same but have vastly different health statuses. That's why it's crucial to also consider other factors like body fat and muscle percentage, bone strength, and hydration levels to get a more comprehensive picture of health.

The Hidden Side of the Scale

sad and empty plate on a pink background

Weighing oneself too frequently can lead to anxiety and prevent us from focusing on what truly matters for our health. Being overly fixated on weight can lead to unhealthy eating habits (3) and poor self-esteem (4). Since what represents real changes is the long-term trend in weight, not day-to-day fluctuations, it's worthwhile to ponder the ideal frequency of weighing for oneself.

The Illusion of Weight Control

Our society leads us to believe that we can fully control our weight. While lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise can impact it, our weight is influenced by many factors, including:

  • Social pressures, beauty standards, and family environment (1);
  • Biology (genetics, hormones, age, sex);
  • Lifestyle habits (exercise, yo-yo dieting, stress management, sleep).

If you're exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet but not seeing weight changes, don't worry; it likely means you're at your natural weight. This is the weight your body naturally maintains when you're not overly restricting yourself. It may differ from the "healthy weight" often recommended, but it doesn't mean your habits are unhealthy.

Other Ways to Measure Progress

person climbing stairs with orange and grey shoes

Instead of focusing solely on the scale, we can look for other signs of good health. Having more energy, clothes fitting better, or being able to engage in physical activities more easily are good indicators of well-being (5-6).

Liberate Yourself from the Scale's Weight

True health is much more than what the scale tells us. At Team Nutrition, we're here to help you embrace a broader perspective of your well-being. If you're looking to improve your health, book an appointment with one of our nutritionists today for personalized and caring support.



  1. Puhl, R. M., & Heuer, C. A. (2010). "Obesity stigma: important considerations for public health." American Journal of Public Health, 100(6), 1019-1028. An exploration of the societal stigma surrounding obesity and its implications for public health.
  2. Kreitzman, S. N., Coxon, A. Y., & Szaz, K. F. (1992). "Glycogen storage: Illusions of easy weight loss, excessive weight regain, and distortions in estimates of body composition." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 56(3), 292S-293S. This study discusses the misconceptions of easy weight loss and the reality of weight regain and body composition.
  3. Pacanowski, C. R., Crosby, R. D., & Grilo, C. M. (2021). "Self-weighing behavior in individuals with binge-eating disorder." Eating Disorders, 29(4), 368–375. A look into how frequent self-weighing affects individuals with binge-eating disorder.
  4. Klos, L. A., Esser, V. E., & Kessler, M. M. (2012). "To weigh or not to weigh: the relationship between self-weighing behavior and body image among adults." Body Image, 9(4), 551–554. This article examines the impact of self-weighing on adults' body image.
  5. Obesity Canada. (2018). "Health in Every Size." Retrieved from the Obesity Canada website. A guide to understanding health beyond traditional weight measures.
  6. Obesity Canada. (2020, July 15). "Your Best Weight." Retrieved from the Obesity Canada website. An overview of adopting a healthy lifestyle that's not solely focused on the scale.
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